The UK is leading the way in taking technologies developed at CERN, home to the world’s largest science experiment, and translating those ideas and products into successful, profit-making companies that will make a positive impact on UK society and the economy.
In a major new initiative to bridge the gap between science and industry, the Director of Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, Dr Sergio Bertolucci, has today, 11 November 2013, welcomed the first company to join the STFC CERN Business Incubation Centre (STFC CERN BIC). Croft Additive Manufacturing Ltd is a developer of revolutionary additive manufacturing (AM) printing technology, also known as 3D printing technology, to produce highly specialised and bespoke metal filters applicable to all industries, including the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.
The STFC CERN BIC offers UK businesses access to the expertise and unique capabilities of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider which recently proved the existence of the Higgs boson.
Dr Bertolucci, Director of Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, said: “This is the first time that CERN has been involved in a dedicated business incubation initiative. The BIC builds a bridge between our technical experts and entrepreneurs in the UK. This knowledge-transfer scheme could inspire other Member States to establish more national business incubation centres and turn CERN’s innovative ideas into business opportunities.”
Medicine, telecommunications, IT and security are just a few of the sectors where inventive new businesses can make an impact using key technologies from STFC and CERN. These include particle accelerators, high performance computing, superconductors and cryogenics.
Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, next to the Cockcroft Institute and within the vibrant Sci-Tech Daresbury campus in Cheshire, the STFC CERN BIC will nurture up to ten companies over the next two years with an exceptional support package. In addition to direct access to CERN’s technologies, expertise and intellectual property, this package includes up to £40k funding, a dedicated STFC business champion and 40 hours of free access to technical expertise and facilities across STFC. It also includes valuable networking and collaborative opportunities with more than 100 other innovative high-tech businesses and entrepreneurs co-locating at Sci-Tech Daresbury, which is now an established and successful Enterprise Zone, as well as with the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester through the Cockcroft Institute.
STFC has a very strong and long-standing relationship with CERN and manages the UK’s membership of this unique international science facility.
Professor John Womersley, STFC’s Chief Executive said: “UK companies already secure more than £15m each year in contracts with CERN, and this new initiative provides further potential to generate major economic and societal rewards for the UK economy, particularly in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth. Sci-Tech Daresbury is a vibrant hotbed of world leading expertise and facilities teamed with the best business and networking opportunities – the potential for partnership and collaboration here is second to none. It is therefore the ideal home for the STFC CERN BIC and for Croft Additive Manufacturing to turn the significant commercial potential of its product into market reality.”
Neil Burns, director at Croft Additive Manufacturing, said: "The successful application of AM techniques in filter manufacturing demonstrates the potential wider industry benefits of AM production across multiple sectors. Being selected as the first incubatee at the STFC CERN BIC allows us access to important technical, financial, and business support, as well as a number of valuable innovation networks, all of which will fit together to play a key role in our success.”
To date spin out technologies from CERN have included the world wide web, touch screen technology for tablet computers, more efficient solar panels and new ways of imaging cancers to name but a few.
Small businesses and individuals wishing to find out more about the STFC CERN BIC can do so by submitting an Expression of Interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STFC has a strong track record in small business incubation; the STFC CERN BIC follows the success of STFC’s first BIC initiative at Harwell Campus, which is run with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). Since its launch in 2011, the ESA BIC Harwell has already been home to nearly 30 high-tech companies that are successfully translating space technologies into award winning, profitable businesses.
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The Science and Technology Facilities Council is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security.
STFC pays the UK contribution to the CERN budget as well as supporting UK participation in the four LHC experimental detector projects, including the Higgs boson detectors ATLAS and CMS. With nearly 600 UK scientists regularly working at CERN the UK has made major strategic investments in the LHC and the development of the experimental detectors and played a central role in much of the research that has taken place at the LHC in the last three years.
In addition to the work with CERN the Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.
STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including:
It enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
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